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15 Jan 13

Sound of Serbian Choir Rings Out at the UN

Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian President of the UN General Assembly, treated a large audience to a concert by the Serbian choir Viva Vox, marking the first day of Orthodox New Year.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade

In front of an audience of some 2,000 guests including diplomats, businessmen, artists and public figures, Viva Vox performed some 10  songs ranging from such well-known hits as "Bohemian rapsody" by Queen and "Mamma Mia" by Abba to Serbian traditional songs such as "Hajde Jano" and "Mars na Drinu" ["March on the Drina"].

After a number of successful shows in Serbia and abroad, Jeremic invited the choir to perform in New York at celebrations marking Serbia's presidency of the General Assembly.

Every year, the presiding country can choose a date to organize a promotion of its country's culture at the UN. Jeremic chose the first day of the Orthodox Church New Year,  on January 14, a major celebration for Serbs.

The event started with the speeches by General Assembly President Jeremic as well as by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.

General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic speaking at UN | Photo by Youtube printscreen

Jeremic dedicated the concernt to "all of those who dream about world peace... millions of people of good faith of all colours and religions.

"They are the true owners of this noble home. We serve them, so that future generations may live as one," Jeremic told guests.

After recalling that Serbia was deprived of its UN membership two decades ago, during the bloody collapse of the Yugoslav federation, he added: "We now stand here proud... as a country that is determined to contribute to the common interest of mankind".

Ban Ki Moon greeted guests in Serbian, wishing them a happy New Year, an act that was met by loud applause.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announcing Viva Vox Choir | Photo by Youtube printscreen

He then said he hoped Monday's concert would inspire everyone to raise their voices on behalf of justice, solidarity and peace in the world.

Viva Vox started by performing "Ameno" by Era, continuing with the comic song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", by Eric Idle, the 2010 Fifa World Cup Anthem, "Wave Your Flag", "Srce", ["Hearth"], by Yugoslav rock icons Ekaterina Velika, as well as "Tamo Daleko", a well-known Serbian song from the First World War.

Short videos depicting Belgrade, Serbia, its sportsmen and other notable figures were screened on a large canvas, announcing the start of the each song.

Viva Vox is the only choir from Serbia that performs capella covers of pop-rock hits, with musical support only coming from a beat box.

The choir is the brainchild of Jasmina Lorin, a music teacher at the Zemunska Gimnazija, near Belgrade.

In the beginning, the choir mostly performed Serbian and international classical music, but it later changed its focus.

Since 2008, the choir members have composed their own unique arrangements, covering a wide spectrum of local and international musical genres.

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